IRONSIDES JUNIORS AGE GROUP FOCUS: U10s
Ironsides Minis - U10s Update
A team from Ironsides U10s celebrate a great morning’s Rugby at London Welsh festival.
Ironsides U10s have risen to the challenge of really contesting for the ball for the first time; building on the tackling skills they learnt at U9 to get to grips with the new rules and new skills needed for rucking, mauling and mini-scrums.
We have a thriving squad of 132 registered players and 22 coaches. The coaches have been really impressed with all the players enthusiasm, teamwork and desire to learn this term – and this has translated into lots of competitive rugby, and lots of fun! So far this season we have fielded a total of 26 teams in 12 different festivals and fixtures across Surrey and London – showing some typical Ironsides’ grit in defence, and playing some wonderful running rugby.
We are really excited about taking 5 teams back to Minehead on Tour in May and before that looking forward to sending another team out at Twickenham ahead of the Big Game on 29 December.
A team from our current U10s in the Twickhenham tunnel before their own big game last December.
Coaching Notes - Ironsides U10s
U10s Head Coach and new Mini’s Chairman Dave Watson talks about coaching in the U10s.
U10s is obviously a really big step up for the players as they have to get to grips with the rules and skills needed for rucking and mauling – on the back of starting tackling in the U9 age group. So our main focus for the season is to develop these core skills. To do that we need to do some demonstrations and practice skill zones, but as much as possible we are coaching “in game”. Hitting tackle bags and shields has its place (and lots of the kids find it great fun), but it is not completely realistic! Coaching in game has the advantage of allowing us to use real examples of play to build understanding of the rules around the breakdown and to highlight good and bad techniques. It also makes it easier to coach based on the needs of individual players, which is always a challenge when we have such a big group.
The introduction of contesting at the breakdown changes the shape of the game which means it is more important than ever to get the players thinking about how they line up on the pitch – both in defence and attack. For example, in defence it’s important that they don’t all get sucked into the ruck and learn to work together in a defensive line to put pressure on the opposition quickly. In attack, we are continuing to encourage them to develop their passing skills and to think about moving the ball quickly to players in space and ideally running onto the ball from depth. This allows them to exploit defensive weaknesses in the opposition.
Again, we try to coach these skills using real games, often with variations and quirks to make it more fun and keep the players on their toes! For example in recent weeks we have played games like Rugby netball, which helps them think about using space, or asked them to play in a much shorter pitch so that they have to use the full width to attack. We have also played variations of touch rugby where the first two players must pass the ball rather than run – which really makes them think about where they are standing and teaches them to work as a team to score tries rather than seek to always go it alone.
All these sorts of games add variety to training sessions and aim to get the players making decisions quickly. This can be quite a challenge for them, but it is a really important part of rugby: we are building the foundation they need to acquire skills and progress over the next few years from mini rugby into youth rugby.
We know that not everyone will pick up new skills at the same pace - so we try to divide up the squad into groups week to week so that everyone gets to play at a level which challenges them but which is also fun and helps build their confidence.
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